IRISH TIMES – The four women’s doubles pairs embroiled in a match-fixing scandal at the London 2012 badminton tournament have been disqualified, the Badminton World Federation has announced. The top seeds from China, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia deliberately conceded points in an apparent attempt to lose their matches and manipulate the quarter-final draw.
The Indonesians and Koreans have appealed against the decision and the outcome of that is expected to be communicated before the evening session, when the pairs were scheduled to play.
All eight players had been charged by the BWF with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”. A statement read: “Four pairs who contested women’s doubles matches in the London 2012 Olympics last evening at Wembley Arena have been disqualified by the Badminton World Federation.
“After a hearing this morning before the BWF’s disciplinary committee the following pairs were disqualified: Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang (China); Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari (Indonesia); Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na (Korea); and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung (Korea).”
Should the appeals be rejected, the programme for the evening’s play at Wembley Arena, due to commence at 5pm, will have to be reconstituted. There has been no indication how this might be done but one possibility would be to allow the pairs who finished third and fourth in the groups behind the banished players to take their places in draw.
The fiasco began when top seeds Wang and Yu seemingly tried to engineer defeat against Jung and Kim Ha-na to avoid finishing top of their group. That would have kept them in the opposite side of the draw to compatriots Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei.
The Koreans responded by apparently trying to lose themselves before the second pair from their country, Ha and Kim Min-jung, took the retaliation further by failing to play properly against Jauhari and Polii. In turn, the Indonesians then became involved.
The players were booed off court by an irate crowd during the evening session and the BWF launched an investigation. Several hours later, they announced charges had been made and a disciplinary hearing would take place in the morning.
It is understood the players were being informed of the decision before it was officially announced. The BWF were planning to hold a press conference to communicate their decision.
London 2012 chairman Seb Coe has voiced his sadness at the situation. When asked about his feelings on the matter, he said: “Depressing. Who wants to sit through something like that? The sadness of it is I was actually at the badminton yesterday and I saw a British competitor narrowly fail to progress but the games were incredibly competitive in front of really large enthusiastic audiences — unacceptable.
“I know the (BWF) really well and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable.”
The decision by the BWF to introduce a group stage rather than hold a straight knockout competition had not been universally popular. Fears that players could contrive results had even been expressed to tournament referee Thorsten Berg by some teams earlier in the day.
France coach Fabrice Vallet said: “By deciding to organise the tournament with a group section, when you had two doubles pairs of certain countries, it was obvious something like this would happen. It happened. During the team managers’ meeting I think the Australian team manager asked the question about the situation.
“He was asking for all the matches to be played at the same time to avoid this type of thing.”
Berg himself became involved in the commotion when he entered the court to disqualify the second Korean pair and the Indonesians but retracted his decision. The BWF themselves have not had an auspicious Olympics having upset several players on the eve of competition by making wholesale revisions to the playing schedule.
It transpired the governing body had not followed their own regulations for arranging fixtures in group stages.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]